Ethnic Degeneration

Ethnic DeGeneration
A Band of Metal Poets

Orlando White

“What Korn is to suburban white kids, is what EDG is to rez kids.”

””EDG fan

Santa Fe ”“ Whether you are in the crowd at a show or just listening to their CD, Ethnic DeGeneration is not only a sound assault on the senses, but also, a sound which helps to define Native Metal music today.

“We are, we are, is what we are, feel that strong blood that flows inside of us, it’s just you and me, and f**k the rest!” are lyrics from “Code Red,” a song which speaks of pride and unity for Indigenous people. Ethnic DeGeneration’s second self-titled, self-produced demo released in 2003 by Diné Recording features two other loud and tough songs, “Rez Erection” and “Cease the Fire.”

Ethnic DeGeneration or EDG is best described as a Heavy Metal Hardcore band, whose tight metal riffs and aggressive sound can make an ordinary head-banger’s neck sore for a week. The band hails from Kayenta, Ariz., Navajo Nation. A fan put it this way on the message board of EDG’s website, “What Korn is to suburban white kids, is what EDG is to rez kids.”

Ethnic DeGeneration is made up of four talented Diné musicians: Billy D. Crawley II, lead vocals and guitar; Delvin Gransen, lead guitarist and vocals; Lauren Anthony, bass guitar and vocals; and Curtis “Wizh” Yazza Jr., drums and percussion.

They have opened up for well known metals acts such as Soulfly, Otep, Hemlock, and Super Joint Ritual, and have played over 200 hundred shows from San Diego, Calif. to Lawrence, Kan. EDG has been together since 1997. Their reputation on the Navajo reservation is nothing short of original metal, and their music is unrivaled by modern Native music today.

A well known EDG song titled “Rez Erection” with its fierce intro of the kick drum and snare, along with a detuned-sound of the bass, builds enough tension to budge your head around for awhile; first, there’s a short drum solo, a brief silence then the vocalist shouts with a deep hardcore sound, “GO!” And then the song pushes back and forth between heavy riffs on the guitar that make you want to undo your hair and bang your head.


Even songs like “Within” on their first demo release, released in 2000 by Dine Recording, and one of their more famous songs, sends a positive message to young kids to look forward to tomorrow and to be patient with oneself.

“EDG’s lyrics touch a lot of kids. I think our song is deep, having that hurt and being alone, but also knowing not to give up on life,” Billy Crawley says of “Within.”

“When kids come to see us, they connect through the music. A lot of kids have come to us for help or advice, to feel comfort or [for us] to just listen to them. It is deep for me and for others in the band when kids, fans, call us up just to say hello, or to talk about personal stuff going on in their lives. Ethnic DeGeneration means a lot to me and to the fans, and in knowing that, I am proud to be in this band.”


The band not only has a passion for music but a devotion for playing on the Navajo Nation as well. “At our shows, mostly Native people have attended and supported us,” Crawley says. “Without their support, we have no stronghold. We all work together for us as Native people, together as one.”

The music of Ethnic DeGeneration has not only brought together Native people and played Native Metal Music for them, but they also appreciate those who have supported them. “It also has brought us to the greatest friends we probably otherwise would have never met. And we would like to express our feelings to our fans and people who have been there for us in the beginning, people we have encountered along the way: Thank you!”

For more information on the band, see their website:

Billy and Loren of Ethnic DeGeneration playing Metal at the Toh’Deh Ne shai Theater in Kayenta, Ariz. Photo by Julaire Scott

“A lot of kids have come to us for help or advice, to feel comfort or to just listen to them.”

–Billy Crawley

Ethnic Degeneration: from right to left is Loren Anthony, Curtis “Wizh” Yazza Jr., Billy D. Crawley II, and Delvin Gransen. Photo by Julaire Scott
Copyright © IAIA CHRONICLE 2004




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